Home > Movie Reviews > They Don't Cut the Grass Anymore
Two psychotic Hillbilly gardeners, Billy Buck (Schiff regular John Smihula) and Jacob (Adam Berke), tend the gardens of the well to do.
But one day they decide to fight back against the terrible tide of Yuppies by concentrating their 'pruning' skills on the owners of the gardens instead they aren't cutting the grass anymore!!! They're cutting the Yuppies!!!
Long Islander Nathan Schiff more than makes up for lack of budget (and I mean a REAL lack of budget) by sheer balls out outrageous bad taste and a sense of love for the gorier side of the horror genre.
The bizarre pre-credits sequence that greets the viewer is a slow camera pan over a 'Barbie' type doll, that has been cut up, with blood painted upon the dismembered limbs and torso, as voiceover tells us how the up and coming Yuppies are just as soulless and empty as a plastic doll. It's weird, it's cheap, it's a sign of things to come
After the low tech titles we open on a couple rolling on the grass while they spew forth romantic clichés in between the man noticing how lovely his girlfriend's grass and bushes are!
Luckily a machete cuts short they're conversation as Billy Buck (A huge guy in dungarees with blacked up eyes, red face paint and a floppy hat on top of his outrageous curly wig) and Jacob (sporting shades, a black cowl and an obvious old man mask. Which according to Schiff was not meant to be a mask but his actual face! Best to think of it as a mask though. Trust me, it really is) are introduced.
The boyfriend taken care of the guys turn their attention of the girl, slicing open her stomach (a very good effect actually) as a prelude to completely dismembering her.
The gutting and facial mutilations are far less impressive than the stomach slicing (and watch out for the actress grinning as her intestines are pulled out!) and to be quite frank the gore is the very height of cheesy cheapness.
But what saves this scene is how far the mutilation goes! Cheesy in the extreme it may be but the sheer extent of the facial destruction (all the way down to her skull) gives the sequence the right amount of over the top extremity to offset the actual cheapness of the effects.
Taking a break from slicing and dicing the guys' chill to a violent movie that has a black guy terrorising a white girl in hot pants.
"You're going to be my little chicken, cus I'm the disco godfather" the black dude announces as he drags the girl off to be tortured.
It's so overblown in it's 'scary black stallion'/'picked on by the honky now it's payback' attitude, as he leers at the girl before stabbing and cutting her up, that it becomes more of a parody of the more crass urban Blaxsploitation movies, than anything offensive. It's a fine line but Schiff amazingly pulls it off.
More murders follow as Billy Buck and the mute Jacob (the hurriedly chosen actor could not remember his lines!) run riot through suburbia as The Press screams out their crimes via some wonderfully old-fashioned 'spinning' front-page headlines. One of which is a nice homage to HG Lewis's "Blood Feast".
Highlight of these killings is the fate of another grass rolling couple, who are given a great exchange before being snuffed:
"Do you love me Allen, I mean do you really? I want you for once to make love to me and not make me think it's just my body you love".
"It's your mind that thrills me more than your body".
"My mind! Do you really love my mind"!?
One jab up the arse with a pointy metal pole later and Allen is out of the picture and the girl is at their mercy.
And what follows is just astonishing in it's elongated goriness.
The charm (if you can call it that) here is that the murders are so drawn out and nasty, as limbs are slowly sawn off live victims, that the whole enterprise becomes almost surreal.
Here we are treated to TOTAL body dismemberment and destruction as the corpses is literally ripped into shreds.
This goes so far beyond anything seen in other gore films (right down to the actual destruction of the skull itself in this care), including the infamous body destruction seen in the Japanese hard-gore "Guinea Pig: Flowers of Flesh and Blood", that you actually give thanks for the often cheap and trashy effects because if this and other scenes were made with real expert gore FX (like say the aforementioned "Flowers") then quite frankly they would go so far into the realm of the disturbing they would probably be unwatchable.
But humour is never far away (happily intentional most of the time) and takes a big leap forward in the appearance of the almost totally unknown, yet astonishingly prolific and multi talented, Joseph Marzano as the woollen suit jacket wearing, pipe smoking Detective Agnosky who has a truly bizarre but weirdly satisfying Bela Lugosi accent!
He is introduced standing in a park discussing the murders when his partner shouts out "Hey look! Another body"! How they missed it in the first place is a mystery in itself!
Amazingly it turns out the girl is still alive (but quite how given the total bodily destruction is never explained!).
Sadly she dies anyway a few seconds later resulting in a sad looking Marzano going right into Lugosi mode with "Dead?! You are
More hilarity is dished out as his partner (the actor glancing at the camera and jumbling up his words) states she's better off dead as she would have only polluted her mind with rock music, taken drugs and committed suicide anyway! Mumbling despair at the state of the World he gives up on the whole thing and shuffles off home to listen to Billie Holiday records!
Leaving the poor Agnosky to go all Lugosi on us again with "Will Human suffering never end"?!
And with that
.We never see the guy again! And we needed more of him! More, I tell you!
This sad loss is countered though by Schiff, just as you think he can't get any grosser, having a girl swallow a firecracker before taking a shotgun blast between her legs! And if all that was not enough then the hungry dog coda will have you crying out loud at the glorious bad taste, with a warped, black comic gusto, that is unfurling before you.
Things do get rather bad during a multiple murder sequence where what seems like the same girl is shot and killed 3 times and continuity goes right out the window as far as Billy Bob's make up goes. But by this time your dazed mind happily accepts it all.
The movie is grainy, and sometimes blurred (but give me ragged old Super 8 to bland video any day)
and plays out with little sense of pacing, as too many shots are held too long with little or no interesting action going on. The acting ranges from the awful (Agnosky's partner) to the delightfully haphazard and fun (Smihula) but it all, no matter what its quality, seems to fit.
The very obvious library music used (everything from old songs, funk, classical, Jean Michelle Jarre and even the same music used over Romero's Night of the Living Dead") sticks out like a sore (and very bloody) thumb at first, but as the film goes on it becomes part of it's many charms. And some of the more weird choices of music are so far removed from the film, or are so delightfully comic, that it must have been a conscious decision on Schiff's part to add to the camp whimsy.
Anyway, It all ends in a joyously amateurish fight, loads more cheesy gore, an hysterically ironic line of dialogue for all concerned ("Listen..You're in great need of psychiatric help") and a fun twist.
The obvious blow up doll used for the firecracker murder was, according to Schiff, supposedly intentional to show how these Yuppies are basically all artificial, plastic, and with as much worth as a doll. The same message the opening gave us.
The truth? Or just a cover for outrageously cheesy and bad FX?
I guess we can give him the benefit of the doubt
.as he's just supplied the viewer with one of the craziest, goriest, grossest, bad taste and just plain fun frolics through the blood drenched meadows of low budget film making as you could hope for.
Essential viewing for any trash fan!